Conservation Tips and Links
Water Conservation Tips for Inside and Outside Your Home1
- Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such
as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning around your home.
- Verify that your home is leak free. Many homes have hidden water leaks.
Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is
being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
- Repair dripping faucets. If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop
per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons
per year. This adds to the cost of water and sewer utilities and adds to
your water bill.
- Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors
to slow the flow of water.
- Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid
wasting water while it heats up.
- If you have a well at home, check your pump periodically. Listen to hear
if the pump kicks on and off while water is not being used. If it does, you
have a leak.
- Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75% of the water used.
- Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the
toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes.
- Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement
parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed.
(Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
- If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water
run constantly, replace or adjust it.
- Install a toilet dam or displacement device such as a bag or bottle to
cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Be sure installation
does not interfere with the operating parts.
- When purchasing new or replacement toilets, consider low-volume units which
use less than half the water of older models. In many areas, low-volume units
are required by local building codes.
- Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow
version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without
adjusting the water temperature knobs.
- Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use this to water
plants. The same technique can be used when washing dishes or vegetables
in the sink.
- In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn
back on to rinse off. Repeat when washing your hair.
- Don’t let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your
teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after
filling the basin.
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and
other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they
are fully loaded. Set the water level for the size of load you are using.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly
rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap run while
you are waiting for cool water to flow.
- Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food
overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
- Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start
a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste, instead
of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50 percent to
the volume of solids in the sewer system or they can lead to problems with
a spetic tank.
- Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you
don’t have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce
water heating costs for your household.
- When washing the car, use soap and water from a bucket. Use a hose with
a shut-off nozzle for the final rinse.
- Use a broom to clean your driveway.
- Adjust sprinklers so only the lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk,
or street. Check and maintain your sprinkler system regularly.
- Do not water on windy days. A heavy rain means you don’t have
to water at all. Teach the family how to turn off an automatic sprinkler
system in case a storm comes up during the sprinkling cycle.
- Always water during the coolest time of the day to minimize evaporation.
Early morning is best, and the peak water consumption hours (4 p.m. - 9 p.m.)
should be avoided.
- Minimize grass areas in your yard because less grass means less water demand.
Replace with low-water use landscaping.
- Adjust your irrigation schedule to accommodate changes in seasonal water
demand. Install an automatic timer.
- Buy a rain gauge to determine how much rain or irrigation your yard has
- When mowing, raise the blade on your lawn mower to at least three inches
high, or to its highest level. Closely-cut grass makes the roots work harder,
requiring more water.
- Drought-tolerant plants are more than just cacti! For landscaping, use
native or other low water use plants. Check with your local nursery for the
best native or low-water use trees, shrubs and plants.
- Using a layer of mulch around plants reduces evaporation and promotes plant
growth. Water retaining basins also allow water to be concentrated around
- Use the principles of Xeriscape (pronounced ZERE-AH-SCAPE). This landscaping
method uses native and drought-tolerant plants, mulch to hold in moisture,
and grouping plants according to your water and light needs.
Conservation Tips were provided by the Water Information Program, P.O. Box
475, Durango, Colorado 81301.